This essay is a culmination of all we’ve learned in English 1 about critical reading, thinking, and writing. This is your opportunity to apply the feedback from all other assignments and demonstrate that you are ready to move on from English 1 and engage with your academic and “real” life in a critical, thoughtful way. This should be the best essay you’ve ever written: show me your best stuff.


Imagine you are writing a persuasive article for a scholarly publication about emotional and physical wellbeing. Identify a problem facing you personally, college students, or our society, especially around the topics of emotional wellbeing, mental health, behavior, college students’ success, etc. You might also consider a topic about how to use rhetoric to solve a problem. Consider choosing a problem that means something to you. (See below for topic/question suggestions.) This is a problem/solution essay.

In 3000 words, using 8-10 sources, you should

  • persuade your readers that the issue is a problem (effects)
  • identify the cause(s) of the problem
  • propose a solution to the problem (based on the cause(s) you identify) – thesis
  • refute at least one argument against your proposed solution (such as another possible solution), and
  • encourage the reader to take action toward your proposed solution.

Writing Instructions

  • The thesis should be focused on your proposed solution. Underline your thesis statement
  • Use a combination of ethos, logos, and pathos to persuade the reader to agree with your characterization of the causes, effects, and best solution to the problem.
  • Persuade your reader that this is actually a problem: what effect is this situation having on who, and why should we care?
  • Explain the cause of the problem and connect your solution to the cause(s).
  • Focus on a solution for the problem – this your thesis and what you want your audience to take action on.
  • Refute at least one specific counter-argument (either a reason your reader might not think this is a problem or why another solution doesn’t work).
  • Provide evidence for ALL claims using credible, scholarly information. No encyclopedias, dictionaries, or low-end journalism. Be discerning.

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